Racing for Epic Experience - The Reason for the Blog!


In March of 2014, my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. It completely shook her world. For the first few months, life became a difficult journey of rearranging and re-envisioning her goals, her new reality, and her expectations of what the future held. For my mom, who is a healthy, non-smoking marathon runner, uttering the words “I have cancer” to her loved ones seemed impossible. These words were so foreign to her, but as time passed on, they also seemed to become more defining.

In all honesty, life for the first few months after her diagnosis was sucky to say the least. But that summer, she was given the opportunity to attend a free, week-long camp called Epic Experience, and she decided to take the risk and do it. This camp is for individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer, and is based upon outdoor adventures such as stand up paddle boarding and white water kayaking.  Leading up to camp, she worried about leaving the comfort of home and family to be with complete strangers and talk about her cancer. There was certainly apprehension about whether she would enjoy herself, or whether she would be able to participate in all of the activities with her new health concerns.

My mom could not have been more wrong. She came back from camp a changed woman. She had made lifelong friends, and had developed a new sense of positivity and determination to live her life to the fullest. She has Epic Experience to thank for her change, because Epic encourages participants to recognize that cancer is a part of their story, but it no longer defines them. Through this camp, my mom finally embraced the fact that yes, she does have cancer, but that sure as hell isn’t going to stop her from living. Since then, my mom and I still enjoy our runs together, going to the rodeo, camping, and all of the things we did before her diagnosis as if nothing has changed.
My mom and I after the Hot Chocolate 15K in Denver this fall

Treatment and doctors have the potential to heal those that are battling cancer, but more than anything, I think that positivity and attitude can heavily influence the healing process and quality of life of a Cancer Thriver. Epic Experience seeks to provide that change in attitude through life-changing experience and lasting friendship and support. This brings me to my goal this year. I hope to race in various runs and triathlons in Colorado to bring awareness to this great cause and to show those around me that I’m making the effort to not take my vitality for granted. I want to work hard and reach new potential, so that I can be a small representation of my mom and her tenacity for life. She’s not taking her cancer sitting down, and neither will I. Please consider donating to this amazing organization, no matter how small the amount. There are so many cancer patients who would benefit greatly from this life changing camp, and it costs approximately $2500 to send one person to Epic Experience. So far, Epic has helped tons of Cancer Thrivers and they could not have done it without the support of donation. Even if you are unable to donate, spread the word by sharing this page or telling others. Thank you for your support, and you can find me racing around Colorado! You can donate to Epic by visiting my fundraising page at http://www.stayclassy.org/chopsenz


Thanks for reading, and Happy Racing! 
Ali Senz 

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